After a much improved display upon his return to the starting XI, Bulgarian midfielder and club captain Stiliyan Petrov has praised the side for their win against Newcastle, admitting that tension and nerves were running high both before and during the game. The 31-year-old has been kept on the sidelines of late due to the signing of Jean Makoun and consistent displays of Nigel Reo-Coker but returned unexpectedly on Sunday and showed that he still has a lot to offer in Villa’s fight for survival.
“The main thing was winning that game because the tension around the place before the start was unbelievable. You could feel that.
“It was a massive sense of relief at the final whistle. It was a big win, particularly with the position we’re in and considering the way things have gone so far this season.
“We’re getting close to the end of the season now and games are running out and we are in a position no-one would want – us, the fans, anyone at the club – but we are there.
“It was great relief around the place, you could really feel that.
“You could see the fans at the end were satisfied with the win.
“We probably didn’t play that well overall. We started well, we put pressure on them and I think we wanted to win more than them. We managed to do that.
“All the boys were outstanding. We battled as a team and I think we deserved to win.”
“Not conceding was the big taking point at half-time.
“We know teams put a lot of pressure on if they are behind in the closing minutes of games.
“We scored a goal and the main priority in the second half was keeping that clean sheet and not letting in a goal.
“We managed to do that and we were really happy with that.”
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